State Sen. Carlos Uresti indicted on multiple bribery, fraud-related charges
SAN ANTONIO —
State Sen. Carlos Uresti has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The indictment stems back to a now bankrupt company that the senator has financial stake in.
In February, agents raided Uresti's downtown office looking for evidence. Uresti and three others are accused of misleading investors. One of the investors was a woman Uresti represented in a wrongful death lawsuit in 2010. Two of her children were killed in a crash near Pleasanton. Uresti helped her win a $900,000 settlement, but she claims he suggested she invest most of it into Four Winds Logistics -- which is now bankrupt.
A federal grand jury returned two separate indictments on Tuesday against the 53-year-old District 19 Democrat Texas State Senator. Three other individuals were also charged by the grand jury.
The indictment charges Uresti, 45-year-old Four Winds Chief Executive Officer Stanley P. Bates of San Antonio, and 60-year-old Four Winds consultant Gary L. Cain of San Antonio with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
A news release states Uresti is also charged with five substantive counts of wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud; one count of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity; and, one count of being an unregistered securities broker. Bates, according to the Department of Justice, is charged with one count of wire fraud; two counts of securities fraud; and, three counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity. The release states Cain is also facing seven counts of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity.
The Department of Justice says the indictment alleges Uresti, Bates, and Cain developed "an investment Ponzi scheme to market hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sand for oil production. They're accused of making false statements and representations to solicit investors in Four Winds and allegedly used funds from more recent investors to pay earlier investors and for personal expenses.
For each fraud related charge, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. For each money laundering charge, the defendants face up to ten years in federal prison upon conviction. Uresti faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of being an unregistered securities broker.
Uresti and a fourth defendant, 44–year-old Vernon C. Farthing, III, of Lubbock, TX, are both charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Justice Department officials say the indictment alleges Uresti and Farthing conspired with others to pay and accept bribes in order to secure a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract for Farthing’s company. Farthing is accused of paying Uresti $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant and that half of that sum was then allegedly given to a Reeves County official for his support and vote to award the contract to Farthing’s company.
If convicted, Uresti and Farthing face up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bribery and up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Uresti issued the following statement:
"I am hard at work representing District 19 in the 85th Legislative Session. The charges against me are groundless and I look forward to proving my innocence in a court of law at the appropriate time. I will enter a plea of Not Guilty and immediately return to work representing District 19."
Initial appearances for Uresti, Bates and Cain are scheduled for Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad in San Antonio. Farthing’s initial appearance is set for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday in front of Judge Bemporad.